Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Conference Recap

"The way of the world is meeting people through other people." Robert Kerrigan

I had the tremendous opportunity to attend the NJRW "Put Your Heart in a Book"Conference over the weekend, and while there were a few glitches (which shall remain undiscussed), overall I gained a lot from it.

So much so, in fact, that I'm going to have to break my recap into a couple of blog posts!

Today, the Very Cool People I met at the conference:

Keynote Speakers:

J.R. Ward - OK, I'll confess, I haven't read any of her books (paranormal romance). But she gave a really dynamic talk about her theory of "persisting and reinventing" oneself as a writer, which is what she did when she proposed her (now hugely successful) Brother vampire series. She said over and over again how important it is to listen to the voices in your head as a writer, and write the story you really want to write, regardless of "the rules" of the genre.

Eloisa James - A Harvard, Yale and Oxford grad who also teaches Shakespeare at Fordham University AND who writes best-selling historical romance. I LOVED HER! She was smart, eloquent, and inspiring. She talked about making your writing "real," about writing from the heart and putting real pain/angst/fear into your book - even when it has a happy ending, it needs those elements as well.

Lisa Scottoline - Hilarious Italian divorcee (and a former trial lawyer) who writes best-selling legal thriller. She told a lot of anecdotes from her own (rather warped) life and ultimately told us we should tap into the truths of real life - however we see that real life - when we write, 'cause that's what readers will identify with and enjoy the most.

Random Fellow Writers:

J.K. Coi - She's appearing on my blog for Writers' Wednesday in a couple of weeks, and she pops in to comment every now and again. Bought her novel My Immortal 'cause it's gotten rave reviews.

Jo Piraneo - She's my website designer, but I found out she's a writer too - I never knew! She offered to mention me to her agent, so that's a plus-one for networking :)

Jennifer Shirk - Fellow Samhain author (actually, a bunch of us had dinner together, and I met Samhain's executive editor in person too - Angela James).

A fellow Absolute Write member, who recognized my name from the forums and ended up buying one of my books at the book signing on Saturday. Let's hear it for virtual networking!

And Jenna Kernan - OK, I didn't really meet her, 'cause I already knew her. She's a member of my local RWA chapter and local Tuesday night critique group...and she let me crash in her room when the hotel...ah...screwed up my reservation. So thanks, Jen! I owe you one :)

Tomorrow, a recap of the workshops I attended. You won't want to miss it!


Marianne Arkins said...

Sounds GREAT! Sorry there were some, er... quirks... but all-in-all sounds like a really wonderful time.

Devon Gray said...

Sounds like a great conference, even if you were temporarily homeless. I just had mine earlier this was a blast!

Al Sharpton said...

How about a book about a nice black girl hookin' up with a nice white guy?

mld said...

Glad it was a good conference. How interesting that you met, Lisa Scottoline. I really enjoy her books and loved her characters, especially Miss Mary DiNunzio. There are always a lot of laughs and GREAT twists.

Liz said...

Loved the conference. Fun and inspirational!

Amy said...

Sounds like you had a good time. You had some great speakers!

Um, you were homeless????

Jennifer Shirk said...

It was really great meeting you too!

(I'm still trying to catch up on sleep and haven't had time to even blog about the conference yet. LOL!)

J.K. Coi said...

Allie, I loved being able to meet you in person! The conference was good (for my first one), and I loved the speakers too (Lisa Scottoline was hilarious).